Recommended Organization and Structure of Academic Essays

How well your essay is structured and organized greatly determines the grade awarded for your paper. Any A-grade essay is well-organized and structured. The importance of organizing your essay well is to enable you to show different aspects of your paper since each of its parts has a specific purpose. While sections and subsections of your paper may vary, the basic skeleton of any essay follows the introduction, main body and conclusion format. Often, you may also be required to include such as an abstract, outline, and/or summary.


This is the section that contextualizes your essay and grabs your readers’ attention. A well-written introduction should start with a hook that is relevant to the essay, and specifically the topic, you are writing and which captivates your reader to win their interest to keep on reading.

The section should also provide a well-organized background of your research or essay topic. This information should start from a broad perspective and progressively narrow down to a specific area that you will be focusing on (your thesis statement). Background information can take different forms such as statistics, explaining the importance of a topic, providing historical information and explaining a cause and effect phenomenon.

In writing your thesis statement, be certain that it is concise, specific and argumentative. You may also include a purpose statement depending on the essay you are writing or instructions given by your instructor. The following points provide the recommended structure of an essay introduction:

  • Hook that introduces your essay or topic and captures your readers’ attention as well as highlights its importance.
  • Cover the background of your topic
  • Develop a clear thesis statement revealing the main arguments/findings of your essay.

One major problem students face is selecting a suitable hook for their essay. The secret to it is understanding the nature of your essay and knowing which type of a hook is most suitable for it. Some of the effective hooks entail using:

  • a question
  • a quote
  • captivating story
  • statistics
  • little-known or interesting fact.

Our blog on introduction writing provides more in-depth information on effective writing of this section

Main Body

This section is organized in paragraph form and may contain subsections depending on your essay needs and other factors such as length.

Each paragraph should contain a specific idea and should start with a topic sentence presenting the idea. The subsequent sentences in a paragraph should provide well-cited evidence such as statistical data, research findings, personal observation in support of your topic sentence. Lastly, each paragraph should end with a concluding sentence that restates the argument it covers. Importantly, ensure that the various paragraphs should be well interconnected using logical transitions.


The conclusion offers a summary of your main arguments and provides you with the last chance to convince the reader. This is your last bullet to impress your audience. An excellent conclusion should start with a restatement of your topic and remind your reader of your key findings. Ensure that you do not simply restate your arguments but rather critically provide them.

Secondly, show the importance of your study by showing reason or the impact it will have on the profession or even the public. This entails stating the reason why (explaining the ‘because’) your topic is essential to call in an emotional response from your audience, which is needed in your quest to convince them.

End the section by stating some afterthoughts to help subsequent studies as a way of presenting yourself as a competent writer. Afterthoughts can take different forms such as a question, a statement to ponder over, a vivid image of the effects and so on.

Other Parts That May Be Included in an Essay


What is an abstract? Simply put, it is a brief summary of your paper, whichever type you are writing, that helps your reader to determine its purpose, findings and structure. Mostly, abstracts are required if you are writing an essay in APA format (American Psychological Association).

When writing the section, be keen as it may significantly affect how well you capture your readers’ attention. It should be organized in a manner that reflects the paper. For instance, cover the introduction, methodology, findings and conclusion parts in the case of a research article.

Executive Summary

This section highlights your findings in a manner similar to that of the abstract. However, they are more comprehensive and may be read in place of the whole document as they mirror enough details of a paper.

Also, while abstracts may be descriptive or informative executive summaries are only informative.


This is simply a listing of the key ideas you have used or will use in your essay. It is organized in such a manner that reflects the structure of your essay.

The secrets to having an excellent and comprehensive outline are:

  • clearly identifying your thesis – to know if your points support it
  • separating main points and their supporting evidence
  • ensuring logical progression of ideas
  • editing it and refining it

Dos and Don’ts in Essay Writing

  • Have a clear and precise thesis statement at the end of your introductory paragraph
  • Support each main point with well-cited evidence
  • Use effective and relevant transitioning words for ease of reading and smooth flow of ideas
  • Have standard paragraph sizes
  • Never restate ideas or evidence
  • Never cite the last sentence in a paragraph
  • Never cite or include a new idea in the conclusion
  • Never use informal language

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